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Join Jay Andersen and Gary Atwood for a program packed with news, music and some humor.  Listener favorites like For the Birds, The Environment Report, Morning Business Report, and The Predator Moment provide a regular foundation for this program that also covers politics, local news and issues, and, the funnier side to the news. DayBreak airs 7-8 a.m. on weekdays.

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Superior National Forest Update: September 26

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Hi.  I’m Anna Botner, Wilderness Specialist for Gunflint and Tofte, with the Superior National Forest Update, providing you with information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest.  For the week of September 26th, here’s what’s going on around the Forest.
 
Fall just keeps getting more and more colorful.  It promises to be a spectacular week to get out and drive the fall color routes, or finding your own roads to explore in the Forest.  If you’re out enjoying the season, make sure to respect other drivers by parking in appropriate spots, closing doors when you get out, and allowing others to pass if you are traveling slowly.  Take a hike on one of our many trails while you’re out.  After all, you can’t really see all of fall through the windshield. 
 
While driving, you could encounter some logging trucks and timber operations around Bally Creek, Devil Track, Ball Club, Shoe Lake, Greenwood, Pine Mountain, The Grade, Gunflint Trail, Swamp Lake Road, Cascade River Road and Cook County 7 and 45.  On the Tofte end, the only active harvest area is off Cook County 3.  You still might see a few trucks on the 4 Mile Grade as well.
 
Fall is also the season for some prescribed burns in the Forest.  These burns help to prepare soils for pines to grow.  A 140 acre burn will be finishing up off the Sawbill Trail, but some residual smoke and campfire aroma will be in the air still this weekend.  Other burns that could be taking place next week, weather dependent, are southwest of Devil’s Track Lake, one east of Isabella, and one on the 600 road in Tofte.  Our local fire people are being assisted by some crews from Michigan and Wisconsin, so thanks to those crews for their help.
  
Bucks are looking their best right now with nice sets of antlers, most still in velvet.  Hunting seasons for many kinds of game have already started, with this weekend being the opener for waterfowl hunting.  The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is the agency in charge of hunting, but our Forest Service offices can help if you are looking for road maps or vehicle use maps that show where
off-highway vehicles can be used.  Remember, you cannot use off-highway vehicles for cross-country travel in the national forest.  They can only be used on travel routes shown on the motor vehicle use map, which can be picked up at any Forest Service office.
 
Enjoy what could be the peak of the fall colors this week, and until next week, this has been Anna Botner with the Superior National Forest’s Recreation and Road Report.
 
 
 
 


 

Superior National Forest Update: September 19

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Hi.  I’m Nancy Larson, Gunflint District Ranger, with the Superior National Forest Update, providing you with information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest.  For the week of September 19th , here’s what’s going on around the Forest.
 
The most obvious change in the Forest is the ramping up of the fall colors.  If you can’t be out in the woods, you can keep track of the season with our fall color reports on our website and links to weekly photos on Flicker.  If you are out in the woods, watch out for other color enthusiasts who might be driving slowly, or have stopped to take pictures.  If you are one of those enthusiasts, be aware of others and park in safe locations, shut your doors when you get out, and pull over to let others pass. 
 
While driving, you could encounter some logging trucks and timber operations around Bally Creek, Devil Track, Ball Club, Shoe Lake, Greenwood, Pine Mountain, The Grade, Gunflint Trail, Swamp Lake Road, Cascade River Road and Cook County 7 and 45.  On the Tofte end, the only active harvest area is off Cook County 3.  You still might see a few trucks on the 4 Mile Grade as well.
 
There could be smoke in the air by Harriet, Fulton, and Toohey Lakes.  Slash piles are being burned which is part of preparing a logged area for reforestation.  There is one 40 acre prescription burn off of the Sawbill Trail.  This is what’s called a site preparation burn and is also part of getting an area ready for a new forest.

The roads themselves are in good shape this week.  There is still construction on Highway 61 which will slow you down as you pass through.  There might be heavier traffic than usual on the Cramer Road through the Forest as people try to find alternative routes to 61.  Most of the time, this particular route isn’t a time saver and isn’t recommended.
 
We may be traveling by road, but this is also the time for birds to travel south by air.  Fall migration is a peak time to see hawks along the North Shore, as well as many other species, but it is also a peak time for window strikes.  You can help reduce the number of birds hitting windows by pulling blinds when you aren’t home so birds can’t see through the window.  You can also things in the window to break up reflections and help the birds to ‘see’ the clear glass and avoid it.
 
Bears are also getting ready for fall by finding food wherever they can.  They are checking out bird feeders, garbage cans, and other sources of food that they may not have bothered the rest of the summer.  Feed the birds, but not the bears by taking in your feeders at night, and stashing your food in a locked vehicle if you are camping.
 
Speaking of camping, our campgrounds are still open with water available at the fee campgrounds until October 15th.  It is great insect free time of the year to pack your tent in the car and enjoy a campfire.
 
Whether camping or not, we hope you can get out into the fall forest.  Until next week, this has been Nancy Larson with the Superior National Forest’s Recreation and Road Report.


 

Superior National Forest Update: September 5

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Hi.  I’m Matt Riederer, Timber Sale Administrator, with this week’s edition of the Superior National Forest Update  -  information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts.
For the week of September 5th, here is what’s going on around the Forest.
Another Labor Day has come and gone, and the crowds are starting to diminish as people head back to work and school; but some campgrounds and entry points can still be busy on the weekend as campers try to fit in one last summer adventure.  If a campground is full, make sure you are respectful of others so everyone can enjoy the weekend.  Park so as to not block traffic, keep the volume on electronic devices low, and don’t run generators unless necessary – and not at all during quiet hours.  But…Do get outside, have fun, go on hikes, roast marshmallows… and try not to think about the snow which could start falling in a couple of months.
Cooler temperatures and less daylight mean that autumn is on its way; and our first fall color report of the season is out.  You will probably notice a few of the maples, birches, and aspen starting to turn as you drive through the Forest. 
Fire danger is low this weekend, but that is no reason to let your campfire get out of control.  Keep fires in grates and fire rings; and remember that it is illegal to burn trash in a campfire.  Don’t leave your fire until it is completely out and cool to the touch.
Our recreation staff has spent the last couple of weeks maintaining existing trails, while also beginning construction on two new trails.  The Little Isabella Campground Connector Trail will provide an opportunity for OHV riders to connect from the Little Isabella Campground to existing trails shown on the Superior National Forest Motor Vehicle Use Map.  One loop of sites in the Little Isabella Campground will soon be open to OHV riders allowing them to ride directly to their campsite.  In addition, our recreation personnel have completed a corridor clearing for a re-route of the Beaver Snowmobile Trail near Jonvick Creek in the Lutsen area.
 
On the road, you can still expect delays on Highway 61.  With heavier traffic on the weekend, your trip from Silver Bay to Tofte could easily be twenty to forty minutes longer than usual.  The hills on the detour slow down heavy trucks and RVs; so watch out for impatient drivers passing in bad places.
Logging traffic on the Gunflint District will be about the same as the last few weeks.  You might encounter log trucks in the Devil Track Lake area, on the Ball Club Road, Bally Creek Road, Shoe Lake Road, Greenwood Lake Road, Pine Mountain Road, the Gunflint Trail, the Swamp and Cascade River Roads, and Cook County 7 and 45.  Logging activity is currently much lighter on the Tofte District, with only one active harvest right now.  However, you still might see a log truck or two on Lake County 7, the 4 Mile Grade, Cook County 3, the Caribou Trail, Mark Lake Road, and The Grade.
Switching from timber harvests to reforestation - Just over 171,000 trees were planted on about 600 acres this past season.  Species such as white, red, and jack pine, white and black spruce, cedar, tamarack, and yellow and paper birch were planted in stands that had been harvested, as well as on some sites that had not been cut.  All of the trees were grown at a Forest Service nursery in Watersmeet, MI, from local seed stock here on the east side of the Forest.
If fishing in the Boundary Waters is part of your plan, make sure to dispose of fish waste properly.  Recommendations on how to do this have changed through the years.  The current best practice is to take your catch and paddle away from your campsite.  Clean the fish away from the campsite and the lake, and leave the remains at least 150 feet from water.  Don’t dig a big hole, but you can cover the remains with duff.  The idea is to minimize the attractive smell of fish guts in your campsite.  While you might not think this is particularly attractive, there are plenty of animals that do.  Disposing of fish waste in the lake, or leaving it exposed on rocks for birds, are no longer considered to be good ways of dealing with fish guts.
Have a great weekend!  And remember, for up to minute information on topics such as fire restrictions or fall colors, be sure to check our website or stop by a Ranger Station.
Hope you enjoy another week in the Forest and on the water.  Until next week, this has been Matt Riederer with the Superior National Forest Update.
 
 


 

Superior National Forest Update: August 29

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Hi.  I’m Steve Robertsen, interpretive naturalist, with this week’s edition of the Superior National Forest Update  -  information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest.
For the week of August 29th, here’s what’s going on around the Forest.
Labor Day weekend can be pretty busy as people try to fit in that last summer adventure.  Campgrounds will probably be full, so make sure you’re respectful of other campers so everyone can enjoy the weekend.  Park so as to not block others, keep the volume on electronic devices low, and don’t run generators unless you really need to – and not at all during quiet hours.  You should probably just leave your tuba and bagpipes at home as well.  But…Do get outside, have fun, go on hikes, and roast marshmallows… and try not to think about school starting on Tuesday.
Fire danger is low this weekend, but that’s no reason to let your campfire get out of control.  Keep fires in grates and fire rings, and remember that it is illegal to burn trash in a campfire.  Don’t leave your fire until it is dead out and cool to the touch.
On the road, you can expect delays on Highway 61 still.  With heavier traffic this weekend, your trip from Silver Bay to Tofte could easily be thirty to fifty minutes longer than usual.  Hills on the detour slow down heavy trucks and RVs, so watch out for impatient people passing in bad places.
Logging traffic on the Gunflint District will be about the same as the last few weeks.  You might encounter log trucks on Bally Creek, Devil Track, Ball Club, Shoe Lake, Greenwood, Pine Mountain, The Grade, the Caribou Trail, the Gunflint Trail, and on the Swamp and Cascade River roads and Cook County 7 and 45.  On the Tofte end, there are no active timber harvests right now.  You still might see a few trucks on the 4 Mile Grade, and Mark Lake Road.
If fishing in the Boundary Waters is part of your plan, make sure to dispose of fish waste properly.  Recommendations for this have changed through the years.  The current best practice is to take your catch and paddle away from your campsite.  Clean the fish away from the campsite and the lake, and leave the remains at least 150 feet from water.  Don’t dig a big hole, but you can cover the pile with duff kicked over it.  The idea is to minimize the attractive smell of fish guts in your campsite.  While you might not think it is particularly attractive, there are plenty of animals that do.  Dumping fish waste in the lake, or leaving it exposed on rocks for birds are no longer considered to be good ways of dealing with fish guts.
To go with your shore lunch, there are still blueberries out there to be picked, but if you are a novice picker, don’t be confused by the fruits of the blue bead lily.  They are blue, and are berries, but they are not edible.  Unlike our ground hugging blueberries, blue bead lily berries grow on a stalk up off the ground, so once you know the difference, they’re easy to tell apart.
Have a great Labor Day!  And remember, for up to minute information on topics such as fire restrictions, be sure to check our website or at a Ranger Station.
Hope you enjoy another week in the Forest and on the water.  Until next week, this has been Steve Robertsen with the National Forest Update.


 

Superior National Forest Update: August 22

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Hi.  I’m Steve Robertsen, interpretive naturalist, with this week’s edition of the Superior National Forest Update  -  information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest.
For the week of August 22th, here’s what’s going on around the Forest.
If you’re planning on driving around the Forest, don’t plan on driving fast.  Many roads are getting pretty washboarded and driving fast will not only rattle your teeth, it will cause you to lose traction and control.  Construction continues to grind on on Highway 61.  Be patient and don’t lose your cool.  It can be frustrating following a haul truck uphill at 10 miles per hour, but don’t let it lead you to pass in unsafe areas.  There is still a detour through Finland via Highway 1 and County 6, and another section with single lane traffic a little farther north, so you can expect long delays on the road between Silver Bay and Tofte.  If you planning on picking up a Boundary Waters permit right before closing time, you may need to rethink your plans. 
Logging traffic on the Gunflint District will be about the same as the last few weeks.  Expect log trucks on Bally Creek, Devil Track, Ball Club, Shoe Lake, Greenwood, Pine Mountain, The Grade, the Caribou Trail, and the Gunflint Trail, plus starting this week on the Mississippi Creek and Cascade River roads and Cook County 7 and 45.  On the Tofte end, there are no active timber harvests right now.  You still might see a few trucks on the 4 Mile Grade, and Mark Lake Road.
We still have fairly low fire danger locally, thanks to the recent damp weather.  Some of our fire people are out west helping with fires there, but some will be continuing with clearing understory growth at Baker Lake Campground this week. 
There has been a lot of bear activity recently as our local bruins do their best to put on the pounds before winter’s hibernation.  Make sure to be bear aware.  This means not leaving food packs unattended on portages, storing food either in a hard sided vehicle, bear resistant food container, or hung appropriately from a tree:  10 feet off the ground, 4 feet out from the trunk, and 4 feet down from the branch.  Campsites in the Boundary Waters fill up this time of year, so look for camp early and have lots of back up plans if you find your favorite site already claimed.
Remember the ‘Nine person rule’ in the wilderness means not only that your group needs to be below nine people, but that more than nine people can’t be together in any one spot in the Boundary Waters.  That means if your group of nine is eating lunch at the foot of a portage, no one else can use that portage.  Try to find places other than portages for lunches, and keep an eye out for other groups.  If you see that others are waiting for your group to clear, be kind and move along so they can use the portage or landing.
For up to minute information on topics such as fire restrictions, be sure to check our website or at a Ranger Station.
Hope you enjoy another week in the Forest and on the water.  Until next week, this has been Steve Robertsen with the National Forest Update.


 

Superior National Forest Update: August 15

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Hi.  I’m Inga Roen, National Forest Interpretive Naturalist, with this week’s edition of the Superior National Forest Update  -  information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest.
For the week of August 15th, here’s what’s going on around the Forest.
Roads are clear and dry and great for travel right now.  Some washboarding is showing up on some roads, so be prepared for it.  Going too fast on washboards not only rattles your teeth, it makes your tires lose contact with the road and makes steering very difficult.  Still, if you’re coming into the Forest from the south on Highway 61, the worst road conditions are probably going to be the construction zones on Highway 61.  There is a detour through Finland via Highway 1 and County 6, and another section with single lane traffic a little farther north.  You can expect half hour delays or more on the road between Silver Bay and Tofte.  People on the Cramer Road might see some more vehicles than usual as frustrated travelers use back roads to avoid the waiting. 
There are still several timber operations on the Gunflint that will have logging trucks on the roads.  Bally Creek, Devil Track, Ball Club, Shoe Lake, Greenwood, Pine Mountain, The Grade, the Caribou Trail, and the Gunflint Trail itself all will have timber being hauled on them.  On the Tofte end, there are no active timber harvests right now.  You still might see a few trucks on the 4 Mile Grade, Sawbill Trail, and the 600 Road, but not many.
Many of our fire crews are supporting work being done on the multitude of fires in the West.  We wish them our best.  Crews here on the Superior though have been working as well.  There have been two small fires in the past week on the Gunflint District, and they’ve also been working on removing understory plants to reduce fuel on sites in the Mid Trail area. 
Speaking of fire, Smokey Bear would like to thank everyone that stopped by to show their support at his 70th birthday parties last weekend and he apologizes for accidently pouring that bucket of water on the candles on the cake.  It was a lot of flames, after all!  He says that he’s ready for another 70 years of protecting the forest, and hopes you continue to prevent wild fires with him!
These are some of the best days of summer for outdoor recreation.  Take advantage of it and get out there!  It can get busy though, so be aware that you aren’t alone.  Respect other people’s need for space and quiet so everyone can enjoy the Forest.  One reason to get out is that August can be a great time for wildlife viewing.  Many young animals are venturing farther away from their moms by this time of year, which sometimes makes them easy to see.  Unfortunately, it also means they sometimes end up in the road, so watch out for wandering wildlife.  Also, watch out for people stopped to watch the wandering wildlife.  If you stop, make sure you are off the roadway in a safe location and have your hazards on.
For up to the minute information on topics such as fire restrictions, be sure to check our website or at a Ranger Station.
Hope you enjoy another week in the Forest and on the water.  Until next week, this has been Inga Roen with the National Forest Update.


 

Superior National Forest Update: August 8

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Hi.  I’m Nancy Larson, Gunflint District Ranger, with this week’s edition of the Superior National Forest Update  -  information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest. 
 
For the week of August 8th, here’s what’s going on around the Forest.
 
Roads are clear and dry and great for travel right now.  In fact, the caution this week is to watch your speed.  Nice flat gravel roads invite you to slowly edge upwards in speed, but then can surprise you with a corner that has loose gravel, or a grader, logging truck, or deer hiding behind a hill.  Most Forest roads were designed for a maximum speed of 35 under perfect conditions, but many of our roads were not designed at all.  They were developed from trails or old railroad corridors.  This creates twisty roads that call for slower speeds, or flat straight roads that tempt people to travel faster than is safe.  Remember that even if your vehicle has four wheel drive, it does not have eight wheel brakes, and sudden braking on gravel is lot harder than speeding up. 
 
You won’t be making much speed on Highway 61 coming to the Forest from Duluth.  There will be a major detour through Finland starting on August 11th, and additional roadwork with flaggers just north of that.  Expect half hour delays.
 
There are several timber operations on the Gunflint that will have logging trucks on the roads.  Bally Creek, Devil Track, Ball Club, Shoe Lake, Greenwood, Pine Mountain, The Grade, the Caribou Trail, and the Gunflint Trail itself all will have timber being hauled on them.  On the Tofte end, some timber operations are winding down, but there is still truck traffic on Four Mile Grade. 
 
Fire crews are still doing fuel reduction work in the Baker Lake Campground.  As August has started drier than July and June, we now have moderate fire danger in the woods.  A lightning strike kindled a small fire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness near Partridge Lake, and a crew is dealing with it using minimum impact suppression techniques.  Of course, you can’t think about wild fire without thinking about Smokey Bear, and it is Smokey Bear’s 70th birthday this year.  There will be celebrations to honor Smokey at both Gunflint and Tofte.  On Saturday August 9th, celebrate with the bear at Gunflint from 10 to 2, and on Sunday August 10th, you can catch him at Tofte from 11 to 1.  There will be cake, ice cream, and of course, bear hugs.
 
This is a busy time of year in the Boundary Waters.  The water is warm and inviting, the bug population is down, and the Perseid meteor shower lights up the night.  When canoeing, make sure to start looking for a campsite early and make back up plans in case someone else has already claimed your perfect site.  Be ready to paddle off your course to find those seldom visited campsites.  Your reward might be a lake to yourself.
 
Wildlife biologists on the Forest have been helping with bat monitoring to keep track of Minnesota’s bats.  Special audio sensors which detect the bat’s sonar are used, recording audio ‘sightings’ on a computer.  If you’re interested in finding out more about bats, our regular Tuesday program at Chik-Wauk Nature Center at the end of the Gunflint Trail will be about bats this week.  That happens at 3 o’clock on Tuesday.
 
For up to minute information on topics such as fire restrictions, be sure to check our website or at a Ranger Station. 
 
Hope you enjoy another week in the Forest and on the water.  Until next week, this has been Nancy Larson with the National Forest Update.
 


 

Superior National Forest Update: July 25

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Hi.  I’m Nancy Larson, District Ranger for the Gunflint Ranger District with this week’s edition of the Superior National Forest Update  -  information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest. 
 
For the week of July 25th, here’s what’s going on around the Forest.
 
Recent storms have reminded us all to keep weather in mind while out on the Forest.  If you are out on the water and see a storm approaching, get off the water and find a safe place to sit out the storm.  Remember that lightning strikes often occur on the leading edge of a storm, before it actually starts to rain.  When setting up camp, look up and check the surrounding trees.  Don’t pitch your tent under dead or unstable trees, and try to avoid roots that can conduct lightning strikes.  Plan ahead before an extended trip by leaving an itinerary with someone at home, but don’t endanger yourself by traveling in bad weather just to keep to a schedule.  Most of all, use common sense and be prepared. 
 
Travel in the Forest should be pretty easy this weekend with many of the roads having been graded recently.  There are still washouts in some places that create narrow places on some smaller roads, such as the Kawishiwi Lake Road.  The recent windstorm left many trees down across roads, and while we have been working to clear them off, there may still be some across less traveled routes.  You may run into logging traffic near Harriet Lake and the Four Mile Grade on the Tofte District.  Timber work is beginning off the Pine Mountain Road, but truck traffic should still be minimal this week.  Timber work is finishing up on the Sawbill Trail where truck use should be decreasing as compared to last week.  Logging trucks will also be on roads near Greenwood and Devil Track Lakes and on the Caribou Trail on the Gunflint District. 
 
Fire crews are running wood chippers at East Bearskin Campground as they finish fuel reduction work there, while the same process of clearing undergrowth is starting at Baker Lake Campground.  The result will be a forest better able to resist major wildfires.  With our wet weather, there is little fire danger locally, so fire crews from our Forest are headed out to the northwest to help with wildfires there.
 
Moose sightings seem to be up in recent weeks.  There are thoughts that the wet and buggy weather has kept moose on the move resulting in more of them being near roadways.  While it is great to see a moose, it isn’t so great to hit one with a car.  Always be aware while driving that there could be a moose or other wildlife on the road, just around the corner.  And, if you stop to take pictures, make sure you are pulled over in a safe location.
 
For up to minute information on topics such as fire restrictions, be sure to check our website or at a Ranger Station. 
 
Hope you enjoy another week in the Forest and on the water.  Until next week, this has been Nancy Larson with the National Forest Update.
 


 

Superior National Forest Update: July 18

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Hi.  I’m Steve Robertsen with the Superior National Forest Update  -  information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest. 
 
For the week of July 18th, here’s what’s going on around the Forest.
 
Much of the Forest is still pretty wet.  This is really helping lower fire danger, as well as making it a very green spring so far.  When you’re hiking or boating though, you’ll probably encounter signs of high water.  Familiar water routes may be a bit different than in other years with lower water level.  While driving, you should watch for soft shoulders and water on the road after rains as there isn’t a lot of space for quick drainage.  You may also run into logging traffic near Harriet Lake, the Four Mile Grade, and the Sawbill Trail on the Tofte District, and near Shoe Lake, Greenwood Lake, and Devil Track Lake on the Gunflint.  Gravel trucks are hauling gravel for construction along the Caribou.  There are crews out grading Forest roads over the next few weeks, and other crews brushing ditches in the Tofte District.
 
Fire crews are still working on fuel reduction at East Bearskin Campground, so there will be people there cutting and removing undergrowth.  This operation will move to Baker Lake Campground later this week.  All of this work will help to reduce the amount of fuel available for wild fires and to help create a more natural forest structure.  Two fire crews from our Forest are headed out west to help with wildfires in Washington, so we will wish them luck!
 
We are working with seasonal crews from the Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa.  These hard working young people are working on lots of different projects on the Forest from trail maintenance to timber marking and gaining hands on experience that could help them in careers in resource management.
 
This next week, they may be finding plenty of blueberries as they work as well.  Blueberries seem to be abundant and on the edge of ripeness this week.  We’ll see what the weather is and if the crop lives up to its promise.  Remember if you are picking berries, stay away from any areas that might have been sprayed for weed control or insects.  Wildlife biologists conducted the last of the spring frog surveys as our amphibians wind down their spring chorus.  Birds still are singing though with our cool weather and lengthened spring.
 
For up to the minute information on topics such as fire restrictions, be sure to check our website or at a Ranger Station. 
 
Hope you enjoy another week in the Forest and on the water.  Until next week, this has been Steve Robertsen with the National Forest Update.
 


 

Superior National Forest Update: July 11

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Hi.  I’m Steve Robertsen with the Superior National Forest Update  -  information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest.  For up to the minute information on topics such as fire restrictions, be sure to check our website or at a Ranger Station.
 
For the week of July 11th, here’s what’s going on around the Forest.
 
While much of the rest of the state is drying out a bit, we’ve had significant storms this past week.  Road weight restrictions have been lifted by the county, but many of the gravel roads are pretty rough from erosion.  Watch out for soft edges and shoulders on all the roads.  While driving, you may run into logging traffic near Harriet Lake, the Four Mile Grade, and the Sawbill Trail on the Tofte District, and near Shoe Lake, Greenwood Lake, and Devil Track Lake on the Gunflint.  Gravel trucks are hauling gravel for construction along the Caribou Trail and near the road construction on the Gunflint Trail. 
 
Regarding fire, slash is being burned near the Honeymoon and Caribou Trail intersection, so you may see smoke in that area.  Fire crews are still working on fuel reduction at East Bearskin Campground, so there are people there cutting undergrowth, and signs that the understory has been cut recently.  This is part of an effort to reduce the amount of fuel available for wild fires and to help create a more natural balance of overstory and understory in the woods.
 
Wet and cool weather really dominates the forest right now.  People have even seen ice in some rocky crevices along Lake Superior!  I don’t think there’s still ice on the trails, but if you are hiking, expect muddy trail conditions.  Please don’t widen trails by trying to avoid mud holes – your best bet is just to slog through it.  If you are canoeing, be safe.  High water has hidden many rocks and made some portages almost canoe-able, but sometimes the emphasis is on the ‘almost’.  Beaver dams have even been washed out in places, so areas where you have been before may seem a lot different this year.  Whether you are hiking or canoeing, bring mosquito repellent!  It is a banner year for bugs, so be prepared. 
 
On the plus side, the cool weather seems to have prolonged our spring wildflowers and some birds are still singing like it was spring.  Loon eggs are hatching, so keep an eye out for loon chicks near (or on!) their parents in the water, but please don’t approach loon families.  Give them their distance.
 
Hope you enjoy another week in the Forest and on the water.  Until next week, this has been Steve Robertsen with the National Forest Update.